The Demcrat and our other dinner companions (all three are Democrats) were joking about Sanford's travails and saying there is no way he can win the special election. The Republican at lunch said he would win easily (Note: he said this before Sanford was nailed for trespassing in his ex-wife's house watching the Super Bowl with his young son and "trespassing," meaning he violated his divorce agreement). When my Republican friend said the ex-governor would win, I questioned him, too, because my New England-based political views quesioned how anyone with his latest pecadillos (the paramour lie, lying to his staff and the citizens of South Carolilna, introducing his young son to his now-fiance, former paramour, at his primary victory party on stage, the treaspassing) could pass voter muster. He smiled and said, "he does a good job" and went on to say that's what voters there care about.
My point? Too often I've been in potical discussions with my more liberal friends who assume they can read a Congressional distirct despite not ever having set foot in it. Years ago, when I was at the Republican National Committee, and the GOP hadn't elected a black congressman in more than 50 years, we had several Africian-Americans running for Congress. We had to decide who best to invest our money in. Conventional wisdom was it should go to a candidate in Ohio who had some national visiblity and was a great candidate. I am from the old 5th District in Connecticut and a black candidate was running there against a former Congressman, who hailed originally from the neighboring distirct. My DC colleagues saw this as a win for the Democrat since the opponent had already been in Congress and was well known. Being from that district, I saw it as carpet-bagger, district shopping so he could get back into office, something those voters (and many voters) don't like. and I helped our candiate develop a strategy leveraging the carpet-bagger criticism. We won. The candidate in Ohio lost.
So, much as I can't see Sanford crawling back into office - I'll wait and see. Locals know better than I do how to read an election and electorate.